Target: United States Department of Agriculture
Goal: Investigate the death of 400 cattle and strengthen standards for overseas animal transport
A ship transporting almost 4,000 cattle from the United States to Russia has recently come under attack of multiple animal welfare groups, who are urgently calling for an investigation into the death of 400 pregnant cattle. It was reported that the Pearl of Para ship transporting the animals had docked in July, and received complaints that it smelled “awful.” The exportation of cattle from the United States to various countries in Asia and Europe is a common practice and about 100,000 animals were transported last year, according to the USDA.
These voyages lasting around 2 weeks are often very stressful for the cattle who are subjected to poor ventilation systems, motion sickness from the ship, and extreme heat. These conditions cause the animals to end up sick, injured, or in some instances, dead. In the case of the Pearl of Para, accounts have claimed that the poor ventilation lacked a backup system. This, combined with the breakdown of manure, caused an increase in ammonia fumes, which led to the suffocation of 400 of these poor animals.
According to U.S. regulations, ships are supposed to have extra motors and fans available in the case of a malfunction, which should be repaired immediately. While it is almost impossible to ensure the survival of every animal on board, different measures could have been taken in order to better protect the crammed cattle. It is unacceptable to allow innocent animals to suffer for long periods of time, only to have them die in a miserably hot, cramped space.
Further action needs to be taken to encourage the USDA to revise the current regulations that dictate an animal’s “fitness for survival” in cases like these. Compassion in World Farming, as well as the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), are two groups that are advocating for a change in policy. Show your support by signing this petition, asking the USDA to conduct an immediate investigation into this case in order to prevent a similar outcome from occurring in the future.
Dear United States Department of Agriculture,
In a journey from the United States to Russia, 400 pregnant cattle out of a total of 3,900 on board the transport ship Pearl of Para have died. This number is appalling, and better steps need to be taken in order to ensure the survival of these animals. While it seems inevitable that some animals may die on long voyages like these, it is unfair and inhumane to keep them in cramped spaces with a lack of breathable air.
It has been suggested that these animals perished due to a poor ventilation system and the lack of a backup system capable to provide these animals with relief from the hot conditions. It is intolerable for these poor animals to suffer for weeks, only to end up dead before they even reach their destination.
I ask that you conduct an investigation into this matter to determine what could have prevented so many of the cattle from dying. It may be time to revise the current regulations to account for the horrible conditions these animals face at sea, and it is time that their welfare is put first. Don’t let more animals be subjected to harmful and stressful environments while traveling abroad. Please have some consideration for the well- being of these animals and make necessary changes to protect them.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: eierea via Flickr